Faye Fantarrow, a rising British singer and songwriter whose debut EP was produced by Eurythmics star Dave Stewart, has died. She was 21.
Fantarrow died at home Saturday after being diagnosed with a rare glioma brain tumor in September 2022, her mother, Pam Fantarrow, announced. She had twice beaten leukemia since learning she had cancer at ages 8 and 13.
Stewart signed Fantarrow, from his hometown of Sunderland, England, and oversaw the release of the seven-song AWOL in February through his label, Bay Street Records. The EP was recorded in the Bahamas.
“I can’t put into words how devastated I was when, just after spending an amazing creative time with Faye last summer making her debut album, Faye found out she had this very aggressive brain tumor,” Stewart said in a statement.
“Faye was a joy to be around, full of fun, laughter and sharp as a razor — a true artist in every sense. Being with her and watching her at work is a diamond stuck in my head, moments I will never forget. I’m lucky to have met Faye and her Mum Pam, two humans together battling against all odds for Faye’s survival. It has been both traumatic and beautiful to witness their strength and dignity, and I am so sorry the world only got to witness Faye’s genius for such a short time. She is one of the true greats, a northern girl on fire with her lyrics and melodies. I loved her deeply.”
Born on April 28, 2002, the soulful Fantarrow was named “One to Watch” by BBC Music Introducing and in 2021 received Alan Hull’s annual Songwriting Award.
Wrote Billboard‘s Joe Lynch in a review: “Driven by fervent acoustic strumming and a pulsing rhythm, Faye Fantarrow’s AWOL demonstrates the U.K. singer-songwriter’s impressive alt-soul phrasing, which brings to mind Alessia Cara in its distinctiveness, and even Adele as well at points.”
Through a fund-raising campaign to pay for experimental treatment at City of Hope, Fantarrow raised more than £235,000 (almost $300,000) in the first of several planned trips to California but was too sick to return for follow-up care, her publicists said.
Excess funds raised by the campaign were donated to charity to fund further research in her memory, they noted.
“Life very rarely goes to plan,” Fantarrow said at the time of AWOL‘s release, “but the plan was always to write, sing and perform, and I’ve been lucky to be able to do that.”